Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trick or Treak - about a month late

Well things have been so busy around the Smits household lately that we haven't had much of a chance to get some new posts up. Halloween was a few weeks ago and while Elizabeth wasn't so sure about the trick-or-treaters but we still had to dress her up and get a few photos of her.

Grandma and Grandpa Burke were out to visit for a few days and Kate took some great shots out in the park. The fall colors make for some great photography!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Aquarium!

Elizabeth's Grandma is in town and we all took a little field trip to the Downtown Aquarium to go find out what all is there...
It turns out, its a pretty nice little Aquarium, especially for kids!

Elizabeth had a great time get right up close to all of the animals. Surprisingly they have a bit more than just fish and interestingly they have birds and fish living together in the same exhibit. Who knew diving ducks, trout, and kids could live so harmoniously together?!
Grandma had a great time showing Elizabeth all of the new and interesting things to see and Elizabeth loved soaking it all in. Here are some of the local residents of the aquarium. I got lucky with these guys, they wern't moving very fast and was able to get some fun photos of them! (by the way, when you get frustrated that the fish keep moving too fast and you can't get a good shot of them, tapping on the glass apparently doesn't help)

One of the highlights of our "Underwater Adventure" was the stingray petting/feeding tank. Here you can buy little frozen minnows that you can feed to the stingrays and pet them as they go by!

Photography At the Aquarium:
Like most aquariums the Downtown Aquarium is Dark! Even in its brighter areas I still struggled to get decent images without using the harsh built-in flash. I had the camera cranked to its extreme low-light settings, (ISO set between 800 and 1600, shooting with the 50mm f1.4 prime lens). While I did manage to get a few decent shots i certainly did not get very many - it was just too dark. Interestingly I also took my Image Stabilized lens and basically found that Image Stabilization doesn't buy you anything there unless its a fast lens too. Everything just moves too much and while the backgrounds may come out fairly crisp the subjects come out blurry. My recommendation, for what its worth, take a fast prime lens or two, crank up the ISO and take about three times as many photos as you think you will need. While I certainly struggled to work the camera settings, I found this was a great exercise in learning about the inter-dependencies of ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and image quality.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bowling with Grandma and Pop Pop

Elizabeth did a great job on her first bowling adventure. She was the hit of the bowling alley with her very special Elmo "bowling shoes". Grandmom and Pop Pop were out for a visit and loved every minute of exploring the days through the eyes of Elizabeth.